Saturday, April 19, 2014

A Little Travel and Some Fabric Tourism

I am sorry for falling off the face of the earth and I am also sorry that a lot of my posts seem to start out this way.  I have been pretty busy with work and life but I wanted to fill you all in on my latest excursion.

Last weekend I took a drive up to Boston (a 10.5 hour drive) to see my mama and to go to a friend's wedding.  I only had three days up there total but I really wanted to see if I could participate in a little fabric shop excursion whilst in the area.  I had read on Colette Patterns blog about a little shop called Grey's Fabrics, and I knew that if I were in the area I had to take the opportunity for a visit.


I will tell you that I was so incredibly impressed with this shop! It was even better than I could've imagined.  In addition their shop is just so, cool!  I walked in there and thought to myself that a shop like this would inspire anyone to make their own clothes.
 
 

The next thing that so thoroughly impressed me was their amazing selection of indi pattern designs.  I discovered some pattern companies that I had never even heard of before.  Plus every Colette Pattern I could want.  I had to restrain myself so that I didn't break the bank.


I think that the person who orders their fabric deserves a round of applause.  They have cultivated an incredible array of fabric.  There is a congruity to what they have chosen which makes it incredibly easy to choose what to purchase.  Within minutes of going in I picked a fabric for a skirt and something for a blouse to match.


The fabric I purchased for my skirt was this amazing cotton sateen from designer Joel Dewberry for Free Spirit Quilting Fabric.  It was $15 a yard and has an amazing hand.  Then I bought this red cotton voile to make a blouse to go with it for $10 a yard.   I was really impressed that the prices were fair and and the quality impeccable.  


They also have a very fine selection of notions (also very fairly priced I might say), they were things that you don't find everywhere.  I purchased some thread wax and glass head pins, but the real winner was this seam allowance ruler.  Grey's has their own brand of rulers of which the seam allowance ruler was one.  They are great, a really helpful tool for adding a little SA, if you know what I mean.


This tool is fantastic!  This store is fantastic! If you have the opportunity to check them out in person you should make it a priority. If you are not going to find yourself in Boston anytime soon they also have an online store.

One more cool thing I saw, on their online store was this cigar box sewing kit. Doesn't hurt that it happens to be on sale, but it is a fantastic price.  It has everything you could need if you're getting started. Plus like everything else about Grey's it's just plain Cool!


Friday, March 21, 2014

What an amazing community we sewcialists are!

Last week I was shocked and pleasantly surprised to look at Bloglovin and see that I had won Lucky Lucille's giveaway celebrating Christine Haynes new book.  (Side note, that was a lot of links for one sentence).   Then today my winnings came in the mail.  I felt like a very lucky girl.




 I had to show you the complete evolution of my unwrapping because it every step was so sweetly put together.  Rochelle really puts thought and attention into everything that she does.  What a treat!

Alas I have digressed, I wanted to say how proud I am to be part of this community of sewers, sewcialists as I call them.  I love reading all of your trials and triumphs.  I am so excited to see Christine's latest achievement.  From little projects to large undertakings this community takes interests in its own people and I am very proud to number myself among your ranks.

I will be back with more on my Anise coat, I know I have been lax about my evolution.  I swear its coming.  Also I am gearing up to participate in Rochelle's Sew For Victory 2.0.  I am very excited for more vintage sewing and inspired patterns.

Hope your weekend is chock full of fabric and notions!
-Caroline

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Anise Day 5

It has been a few days but while I haven't blogged, I was not idle either.  I endeavored to complete the challenges of day 5 of the Anise companion guide.  

The missions for Day 5 were not exactly tricky, but a little tedious and time consuming.  I had to talk to myself in the words of Dori from Finding Nemo with a stitching twist, "Just keep stitching, stitching, stitching..."

Day 5:
  1. Create the facing
  2. Attach the collar to the facing
  3. Attach the undercollar to the jacket
  4. Attach the facing and collar to the jacket
  5. Baste the facing in place
My facing pieces were ready and prepped from Day 4.  All my buttonholes were ready and the interfacings were on.



First thing was to stitch the facing shoulder seams together. I then pressed the seams open and transferred the stay stitching marks to the interfacing on the wrong side of the fabric.  The white interfacing made these marks very easy to see.


I stay stitched along the facing's neck edge between my marks.  I stitched this line at 1/2" inch from the edge.  This made sure that my stay stitching will stay within my seam allowance and not be seen on the face of the fabric.


Next I attached the collar to the facings and pressed the seam allowance open.


I repeated this process attaching the undercollar to the jacket.  What came next was a interesting and perplexing to me was that the directions said that you would see the undercollar poking out from under the collar.  The next step was to mark where the collar hits the undercollar and to trim the excess away. I've never done that before, so it was one of those moments that make you go "Ooooh".


Now you must forgive all of my strings, I haven't broken out the lint roller yet.  This is the collar trimmed up and sitting one on top of the other.


The next step is to stitch the collars together and to bag them out.  After I had done that the directions called my attention to a marking on the wrong side of the facing.  Here they call you to take the tails from stitching the collars to the facing and jacket, as well as the tails from stitching the collars together, and to thread them on a needle and pull them all through to the underside of the facing.  Then you need to knot them together.



Next I trimmed the seam allowances where I attached my collar pieces and the seam allowance of the collars themselves.


Now for the tedium.  One of the hallmarks of a well done coat is the hand work that goes into them. This was one of the most time consuming parts of the process so far.  The last step of day 5 was to tailor tack the front and collar edges in place.  It took some time, but it was worth it, it looked real good!


Thanks for joining me for day 5.  I hope to be back at you with day 6 soon.  On day 6 we will be getting into welt pockets.  Oh how I love a good welt pocket.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Anise Day 4...Halfway there!

It is so exciting to think that I am halfway through this coat.  One of the things I love most about having this companion sewing guide from Colette Patterns is having something to keep me on task. In addition to keeping myself on the ball it makes the end result seem ever more attainable.  I think that in the future I may try to break all my projects up into parts that coordinate to days.  It's just making me feel so inspired to keep up the good work.

Now back to Day 4.  Here were the tasks I had to accomplish on the fourth day of my self-imposed Anise challenge.

Day 4:
  1. Create bound buttonholes ***This was considered "optional" but they are gorgeous so of course I took the option.
  2. Stitch the darts.
  3. Sew the back pieces together.
  4. Sew the front and the back at the shoulders.
I love bound buttonholes, though they do take considerably more time than machined buttonholes but they just look so polished and couture. 

First thing was to mark out the space for the buttonholes on the left front and facing pieces.  As you may be able to see I marked them incorrectly the first time and remarked them in orange. You can't see it in this photo but I had to move the left four buttonholes again, I had set them too far to the left.


The next step is to take 2 1/2" X 3" squares of the face fabric and interfacing, mark them to the same size as the buttonholes, and then pin them to match the marked spaces on the coat fronts.




I next cut the buttonholes open using an Exacto knife.  I like an razor for this rather than scissors. I feel as though it allows me to cute through many layers easily.


Tragically it seams I forgot to take a picture of the buttonholes before I turned them to the inside. Once I did turn them I folded, pressed, and stitched them to the seam allowance.



What happens to the interfacings on the front facing pieces is the coolest thing I've learned yet. After I stitched the interfacing to the front of the facing and turned it to the inside I pressed them to the back side of the fabric.  this was so cool and created a nice clean edge to stitch to the back of the buttonholes.


Then I stitched up the darts at the back of the neck edge.


I left the tails at the end of the dart long and rather than backstitching I square knotted the tails and clipped them.

I pressed the darts to the the center back of the piece.  I always remember direction to press the darts by a saying from my favorite professor, "Down and in makes you look thin".  It means that you press all your darts down towards the waist or in towards the center of the garment.


To make the sewing up of the side back seams easier I clipped the curves ahead of time.



I pinned the pieces together and stitched them up.


 I then pressed the seams open over my tailor's' ham.



Lastly on the list for day four I stitched the shoulder seams together and then pressed them open.



In my Day 4 sewing I had some wonderful moral support. Here's to an awesome wife and a wicked great puppies who know the value of relaxing.  To my wife, in the words of the most joyful figure skater on blades, "Thank you So MUCH!"

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Anise Day 3.5

Alright, so finally I am done with Day 3 in the Anise companion.  This whole having a full time job and responsibilities thing is really getting in the way of my personal projects.  I feel like I always underestimate the time cutting is going to take me.  It seems so simple, lay the pattern on the fabric and cut.  But when there are four different types of material and lots of marks to transfer, it can get a little time consuming.

One of the first I have to say that I am loving about this endeavor is that I am working with materials that I haven't had a lot of experience with.  I really like this weft interfacing.  Weft is a combination of a woven and knit processes.  In it's current iteration it is giving my Anise coat front a little more body and shaping my collar.  Hooray for a shapely collar.

 This is a close up of the weft interfacing. 

A great aspect of having fusible interfacings on dark fabric is that you can transfer your markings to the interfacing and it makes them easier to see.


Another thing this project has that is new for me is a muslin underlining.  What you do with this muslin is you stitch it to its coordinating fabric pieces cut in the main fabric in the seam allowance.  This also helps to add structure to the coat.  One thing that the companion says to do is to cut out the darts in the muslin to reduce bulk.  Literally you just follow the lines and cut them away.  I will admit that I was nervous, but I went for it!


Once I had cut everything then I went ahead and ironed the weft interfacing to their coordinating parts.


This next part was really cool to me.  We cut an extra piece of weft in the space between the roll line and the seam allowance.  This makes the stand of the collar much more firm and made pressing the roll edge very easy.



I used my dress form to get a good shape on the collar. This was one of those moments in a sewing project where you see a little glimpse of the end product and I got really excited.



This part was admittedly a little bit of a pain in the ass.  I had to pin the layers of main fabric and underlining together and then stitch them within the seam allowance.  On the smaller side back pieces it was easy to make sure they were very well lined up, the larger pieces didn't go as perfectly, but they'll work.


 Little close on the awesomeness of being able to mark a light colored underlining and better see the markings!

Day 3, admittedly the one of the longest "days" in blogging history.  I am excited to move on to Day 4. hopefully without a Day 4.5.